Facing their fifth in-state opponent of the year, Charlotte used a fast start in the first half to beat UNC Wilmington (5-6) by a score of 76-57 on Saturday, Dec. 7 in Wilmington.
Up until this point, the 49ers had only one other blowout win, but a 24-0 run in the first half gave them their first road win of the year and another convincing win. Up 7-6 with 16:32 left in the first half, the 49ers went on their big run with contributions from Drew Edwards, Brice Willams, Jahmir Young, Milos Supica and Amidou Bamba.
Charlotte had a 39-18 lead at halftime and Head Coach Ron Sanchez was thrilled with the way his team began the game.
“I was very happy with the way that we came out in the first half with a defensive mindset, which set up the way we played the entire game,” Sanchez said. “I was happy that we had that type of intensity at the start of the game.”
Charlotte came out firing on all cylinders once again in the second half. They were able to stretch their lead out to 45-20, but UNCW created a necessary offensive response. They went on a 24-12 run and cut the 49ers’ lead to 60-44 at one point. That was the closest that the Seahawks would get.
The 49ers had plenty of help when it came to scoring as five players were in double digits. Supica led the way with 15 points and was 7-8 from the field. Edwards had 13, Jordan Sheperd tallied 12, Bamba added 11 and Young put up 10.
Even though UNCW gained some traction in the second half, Sanchez was happy his team got the job done early.
“We covered for one another. We knew UNC Wilmington shoots the ball really well,” Sanchez said of the early defense success. “We were very alert to their shooting but we also knew because of long shots that there were going to be long rebounds so we had to block out as well.”
Jaylen Sims, the top scorer for UNCW going into the game, was held to zero points in the first half. He went 2-10 from the field and only had five points on the night.
Charlotte had a season-best 46 points in the paint as well to boost their winning efforts.
The 49ers moved to 4-4 on the season with the victory and will have a week break for finals and will take on Valparaiso on Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. in Halton Arena